SEM Keyword Research and Customer Intent: Why It’s Important


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  • Performance Media Planning & Buying

What You Should Know:

  • Strategic, thoughtful keyword research is the driving force behind any successful Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign. It’s obvious that keywords should be used that are relevant to the business or product that the campaign is promoting, but even more important than relevancy is intent.
  • A keyword may appear to be a perfect fit because the term itself is related to a business or product; however, if the majority of searches associated with that term don’t have anything to do with the business or product, bidding on that keyword could be harmful to your budget. With SEM, you pay per click, so for every person who clicks on your ad but isn’t actually looking for your services (and, therefore, doesn’t convert), money is wasted.
  • For example, in a Search Engine Land article by Jacob Baadsgaard, Founder/CEO of Disruptive Advertising, Baadsgaard cites an instance when a business translation client bid on the keyword “translate.” The keyword directly aligns with their services and receives millions of searches each month. The issue? Because “translate” is such a general term with a broad range of intent, bidding on “translate” generated $150,000 worth of clicks – but not sales.
  • Gaining a better understanding of the intent associated with a keyword can begin by simply using Google’s algorithms yourself. If you conduct a search using a keyword you are considering bidding on and the first page is filled with results that are unrelated to your business, it probably means that the majority of people using that term in their searches have intentions unrelated to your services. If, on the other hand, that search returns relevant results, it may mean you have competition, but it also means you’ve found a data-driven keyword to add to your campaign.


Level Insight:

Audience and keyword research, whether within search, display, or social, has always been a balancing act between automated system recommendations and a good marketer’s understanding of business goals, intent, and audience makeup. Collaboration with a client, particularly in the early ‘Discover’ phase of campaign builds, is crucial — our clients are masters of their business goals and audience, while Level brings marketing expertise and experience with what works, what doesn’t, and how best to balance those business goals with Google recommendations. Combining the two will produce wisdom beyond the artificial intelligence of an automated system like Google’s Keyword Planner.

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